4-H learning experiences are based on the principles and practices of positive youth development. Positive youth development views young people as vital resources with assets and potentials to be developed rather than as problems to be managed.
Youth-driven 4-H experiences provide youth access to safe learning environments; challenging experiences that build skills, competencies, and resiliency to address life’s challenges and to actively contribute to society; and partnerships with caring adults to help meet youths’ basic needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity.
4-H staff and volunteers intentionally address youths’ basic needs by integrating eight essential elements within 4-H youth development experiences: caring adults, safe environments, mastery, service, self-determination, inclusiveness, futuristic, and engagement.
National 4-H Study on Positive Youth Development: Tufts Study
Vibrant Groups (pdf)
How Youth Develop (pdf)
Youth as Partners (pdf)
Iowa 4-H Youth Development Plan 4H 3036B (pdf)
The Iowa 4-H Youth Development Experience
4H 3020A & B (pdf)
Iowa YD Resources
National YD Resources
Other YD Research